Sunday, October 23, 2005

Maureen's Meow

Maureen Dowd, who has not gone off to sea but only now resides behind the curtain of Times Select, weighs in on the Judy Miller affair.

Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times' seat in the crowded White House press room, listening to an administration official's background briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York, but she showed up at this national security affairs briefing.

At first she leaned against the wall near where I was sitting, but I noticed that she seemed agitated about something. Midway through the briefing, she came over and whispered to me, "I think I should be sitting in the Times seat."

It was such an outrageous move, I could only laugh. I got up and stood in the back of the room, while Judy claimed what she felt was her rightful power perch.

She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."

So Mo is miffed that Judy took her seat? Did Maureen pass notes to her friends about this later in math class? Although Maureen goes on to raise some valid points about the lack of oversight the Times exercised over Miller's reporting, and the honesty of that reporting, to open up a column with an anecdote like this trivializes her arguments.

Perhaps Maureen can heal this breach with Judy with some shoe shopping followed by some Cosmos at the Four Seasons.

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